My Turn: Eating veal supports inhumane treatment of animals
We humans love our babies. Cows love their calves just as much, but in the dairy industry they are not allowed to keep their male calves.
As soon as they are born, they are torn from their mothers’ care. Cows cry for their calves for extended periods and have been known to search for their missing babies great distances if they escape from the barn. At livestock auctions, there are many newborn calves with their umbilical cords still attached.
Male calves are unwanted products of the dairy industry, in which cows are impregnated to produce milk. They are shipped to crated veal farms where these playful, needy babies are tied for the few shorts weeks they are allowed to live in a barren metal or wooden crate with little or no light, no soft bedding, and no exercise or company of other calves.
In fact, lacking all muscle tone, veal calves have a hard time walking the ramp from the transport truck into the slaughterhouse. They are often shocked to keep them moving. They are deliberately fed an iron-deficient liquid diet, making them anemic to produce the pale “milk-fed” flesh so prized by gourmands. Such a deficient diet causes the calves to lick desperately at the crate slats to obtain much-needed iron.
Many succumb to severe diarrhea. But with so many calves on the farm, what’s a few dead ones? A temporary profit loss to the mega-company.
To keep these sick baby animals alive to reach slaughter age, the veal industry routinely administers therapeutic doses of antibiotics and sulfa drugs, a significant human health hazard causing antibiotic-resistant diseases. A few years ago, there was a scandal involving a banned drug, clembuterol, which was being illegally added to veal calf feed.
If you truly want to help stop the suffering of veal calves, stop eating veal and delete dairy products from your diet. Crated veal farms could not thrive without the existence of dairy farms. Be an advocate for veal calves – educate everyone you know on crated cruelty and urge restaurants to remove veal from their menus.
Veal consumption has dropped tremendously since the 1980s because of the inhumane treatment of the calves. Veal calves have no choice and no voice – but we humans have both and with them we can make a difference for these young animals.
(Barbara Bonsignore lives in Concord.)